Windows Insider

Windows Insider is an open software testing program by Microsoft that allows users who own a valid license of Windows 10[1][2] or Windows Server 2016[3][4] to register for pre-release builds of the operating system previously only accessible to software developers.[5]


Microsoft launched Windows Insider for developers, enterprise testers and the "technically able" to test new developer features on pre-release software & builds, not given publicly released, to gather low level diagnostics feedback in order to identify, investigate, mitigate & improve the Windows 10 OS, with the help, support and guidance of the Insider Program Participants, in direct communication with Microsoft Engineers via a proprietary communication & diagnostic channel.

It was announced on September 30, 2014 along with Windows 10.[6] By September 2015, over 7 million people took part in the Windows Insider Program.[7] On February 12, 2015, Microsoft started to test out previews of Windows 10 Mobile.[8] Microsoft announced that the Windows Insider program would continue beyond the official release of Windows 10 for future updates.

Gabriel Aul was the previous head in charge of Windows Insider Program. The current head of the Windows Insider program is Dona Sarkar.[9] Similar to the Windows Insider program, the Microsoft Office, Bing, Xbox and Visual Studio Code teams have set up their own Insider programs.


Microsoft originally launched Windows Insider for enterprise testers and the "technically able" to test out new developer features and to gather feedback to improve the features built into Windows 10.[10] By the time of the official launch of Windows 10 for PCs, a total of 5 million volunteers were registered on both Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. They were also among the first people to receive the official update to Windows 10.[11]

With the release of Windows 10, the Windows Insider app was merged with the Settings app. This made the ability to install Windows Insider preview builds an optional feature which could be accessed directly from within Windows 10.[12][13]

In May 2017, Microsoft announced that the program would extend to Windows Server 2016. The first Insider build for this operating system was released on 13 July 2017.[3][4]


Windows 10 Insider Preview updates are delivered to testers in different "rings" or logical categories:[14] Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring receive updates prior to Windows Insiders in the Slow Ring but might experience more bugs and other issues.[15][16] In February 2016 Microsoft introduced new rings for the Windows Insider Preview.[17]

On November 5th, 2019, Microsoft has completely abandoned the Skip Ahead ring from the Windows Insider Program, stating "Our goal is to provide everyone in the Fast ring the freshest builds at the same time".

Ring Available Description
Canary Internal It starts internally with daily Canary builds, with the target of one build every day. If a build compiles and passes through the initial gates testing, it is flighted to the Canary ring, but Canary is not for the faint of heart. The Microsoft engineers flighting builds in this ring are the true risk takers.
Selfhost It is then moved into the Selfhost ring, which is tightly knit between internal users at Microsoft, and a few selected partners within the broader Microsoft organization.
Skip Ahead (discontinued) External (limited) This was a unique version of the Fast ring which allowed a certain number of Insiders who opted in to receive super early builds for the next feature update of Windows 10 while they are finishing up a current release. This ring has been discontinued in Windows 10 20H1 Insider Preview build 19018.[18]
Fast External If the build passes all the Selfhost checkpoints, this is when Insiders in the Fast ring will see the build for the first time. The normal cadence to the Fast ring is approximately once a week, though they do release about twice a week towards the end of a development cycle.
Microsoft Internal After this, it is pushed to the rest of Microsoft, this is a pretty big deal internally, as this is anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000[19] Microsoft employees or even more using this build for their day to day activities.
Slow External If it makes it past Fast, and it works well in the Microsoft ring, it then gets pushed to the Slow ring. This is the ring for those who like to receive preview builds, but who are more averse to risks. It's a great opportunity to test out new features and functionality ahead of time, but with a bit more stability than what is found in the Fast ring.
Release Preview Finally, there is the Release Preview ring. This is the branch that is in the retail world that receives monthly updates, security fixes, bug fixes, things like that, and are released to customers. These builds are super stable and have very, very few bugs.

Supported devices

Supported Processors

On July 17, 2017, reports began to come that Windows 10 Creators Update refused to install on PCs and tablets sporting Intel Atom "Clover Trail" processors.[20][21] At first, it appeared as though this might have been a temporary block as Microsoft and hardware partners work to fix the issues preventing the operating system to run well.[22] However, Microsoft later confirmed that devices running the "Clover Trail" Intel Atom processors would not be receiving the Creators Update, as the processors are no longer supported by Intel and does not have the appropriate firmware to properly run versions of Windows 10 newer than the Anniversary Update.[23][24]

The following processors are no longer supported and will remain on Windows 10 Anniversary Update:[25]

  • Atom Z2760
  • Atom Z2520
  • Atom Z2560
  • Atom Z2580

Because PCs with unsupported processors could not receive new features updates, Microsoft agreed to extend support for these PCs with the bug fixes and security updates for the latest compatible version of Windows 10.[26][25]

Versions of Windows 10 that were released before a Microprocessor was released is also not supported and installations for those operating systems may be actively blocked. For example, Windows 10 Version 1507 LTSB will not install on Kaby Lake processors.[27]

Supported Smartphones

Microsoft initially launched Windows 10 Technical Preview for certain third-generation (x30 series) phones from their Lumia family and subsequently released it to second-generation (x20 series) devices throughout the testing phase. Some hacked their non-Lumia phones (which were not supported at the time) to download the preview builds. Microsoft responded by blocking all unsupported models.[28] To roll back the installed technical preview back to Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft launched Windows Device Recovery Tool that removes Windows 10 and recovers the latest officially released software and firmware.[29]

Preview build 10080, released on May 14, 2015, was the first to support a non-Lumia device, the HTC One M8 for Windows. This was followed up by Xiaomi who, in partnership with Microsoft, released a ROM port of Windows 10 to its flagship Mi 4 handset on June 1, 2015. At that time, it was limited to certain registered users in China.[30][31] Build 10080 and its follow-up build 10166 also added support for fourth-generation Lumia (x40 series) devices. As a result, all compatible Windows Phone 8 or later Lumia phones now support the preview.

In August 2015, Microsoft stated that while all Windows Phone devices, including those from Microsoft's new hardware partners announced the previous year, would receive the final version of Windows 10 Mobile, not all would receive preview builds through the Insider program. However, the company did not provide any information at the time on whether new devices would be added to the preview program. Microsoft instead focused on promoting new devices that come with Windows 10 Mobile, including their Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL flagships, and the low-cost Lumia 550 and Lumia 650. Since their release, these new Windows 10 devices became eligible to receive future updates in advance via the Insider program, beginning with build 10586 on December 4, 2015. The Windows-based LG Lancet also received this version but has not been upgraded since.

On February 19, 2016, Microsoft released the first Windows 10 Mobile "Redstone" preview, build 14267. Starting with this build, future preview versions became exclusively available for devices that were already running a non-Insider preview of the OS, except for the Mi4 ROM version.[32] This was followed by build 14291, released for existing Windows 10 devices on March 17, 2016 in conjunction with the official RTM release of Windows 10 Mobile to third and fourth-generation Lumias. The following week, it became available to the newly upgraded older Lumias in addition to several other devices already on Windows 10 Mobile at the time.[33]

All supported devices subsequently received Insider preview builds as far as build 15063, the "Creators Update", released on March 20, 2017. This included the official release of build 14393, the "Anniversary Update", on August 2, 2016.[34] However, it was announced in April 2017 that many devices, including all third-generation Lumias, would not receive the RTM version of the Creators Update and further "Redstone" development builds, following feedback from users.[35] Of the devices that remain supported, nearly all, except the Lumia 640 and its XL variant, had originally come with Windows 10 Mobile instead of Windows Phone 8.1.

Supported smartphones
Manufacturer Device Threshold
Redstone 1
(Anniversary Update)
Redstone 2
(Creators Update)
First release[43] Second release[44][45]
Windows 10 Mobile devices
Acer Liquid Jade Primo No 14393 Yes No
Alcatel Fierce XL No Yes Yes Preview
Idol 4s No Yes Yes Preview
HP Elite x3 No 14291 Yes Preview
MCJ Madosma Q501 No 14291 Yes No
Madosma Q601 No No 15063 Preview
Microsoft Mobile Lumia 550 10586 14291 Yes Maybe
Lumia 650 10586 Yes Yes Preview
Lumia 950 10586 Yes Yes Preview
Lumia 950 XL 10586 Yes Yes Preview
SoftBank 503LV No No 15063 Preview
Trinity NuAns Neo No No 15063 Preview
Vaio VPB051 No No 15063 No
Phone Biz No No 15063 Preview
Windows Phone 8.1 devices
BLU Win HD W510U No 14291 Yes No
Win HD LTE X150Q No 14267 Yes No
HTC One M8 10080 No No No
LG Lancet 10586 No No No
Nokia/Microsoft Mobile Lumia 430-series
Includes 430 and 435
10051 14291 Yes No
Lumia 520-series
Includes 520, 521, 525 and 526
10051 No No No
Lumia 530 10051 No No No
Lumia 532 10051 14291 Yes No
Lumia 535 10051 14291 Yes No
Lumia 540 10080 14291 Yes No
Lumia 620 10051 No No No
Lumia 625 10051 No No No
Lumia 630-series
Includes 630, 635, 636 and 638
Yes 14291
Except 512 MB
Except 512 MB
Lumia 640 10586 14291 Yes Preview
Lumia 640 XL 10080 14291 Yes Preview
Lumia 720 10051 No No No
Lumia 730 9941 14291 Yes No
Lumia 735 10051 14291 Yes No
Lumia 810 10051 No No No
Lumia 820 10051 No No No
Lumia 822 10051 No No No
Lumia 830 Yes 14291 Yes No
Lumia 920 10051 No No No
Lumia 925 10051 No No No
Lumia 928 10051 No No No
Lumia Icon 10051 14332 Yes No
Lumia 930 10080 14291 Yes No
Lumia 1020 10051 No No No
Lumia 1320 10051 No No No
Lumia 1520 10051 14291 Yes No
ROMs for MIUI devices
Xiaomi Mi4 10080 Yes Yes No

See also


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  2. "Activation in Windows 10". Support. Microsoft. 1 September 2016.
  3. Sarkar, Dona (13 July 2017). "Announcing Windows Server Insider Preview Build 16237". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft.
  4. Foley, Mary Jo (13 July 2017). "Microsoft releases first Windows Server 2016 Insider preview test build". ZDNet. CBS Interactive.
  5. Warren, Tom (30 September 2014). "Windows 10 is the official name for Microsoft's next version of Windows". The Verge. Vox Media.
  6. Myerson, Terry (September 30, 2014). "Announcing Windows 10". Blogging Windows. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  7. "Windows Insiders program reaches 7 million members". WinBeta. WinBeta. 4 September 2015.
  8. Aul, Gabe (12 February 2015). "Announcing the first build of Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft.
  9. Preece, Caroline (2 June 2016). "Microsoft makes Dona Sarkar head of Windows 10 Insider Program". IT Pro. Dennis Publishing.
  10. Bright, Peter (1 October 2014). "Microsoft launches Windows Insider Program to get Windows betas". Ars Technica. Condé Nast.
  11. Callaham, John (2 July 2015). "Windows Insider Program's 5 million members will get Windows 10 first on July 29". Windows Central.
  12. Smith, Russell (6 July 2015). "How to Install the Insider Hub App in Windows 10". Petri IT Knowledgebase.
  13. Hassan, Mehedi (14 April 2016). "Windows 10 Mobile Redstone will get native Windows Insider program integration soon". MSPowerUser.
  14. Aul, Gabe (21 October 2014). "We're rolling out our first new build to the Windows Insider Program". Windows Blog.
  15. Hassan, Mehedi (19 February 2015). "[WP10] Microsoft releases Slow Ring for Windows 10 for Phones Technical Preview". Windows Mobile PowerUser.
  16. Hassan, Mehedi (19 February 2015). "Video Recorder on Windows 10 for Phones Preview introduces couple of new features". Windows Mobile PowerUser.
  17. Hay, Richard (10 February 2016). "Microsoft Adds a Release Preview Ring to Windows Insider Program". Paul Thurrot's SuperSite for Windows. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  18. Tung, Liam. "Windows 10 updates: Microsoft kills off Skip Ahead ring for Insiders". ZDNet. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  19. "The Windows Insider Program: Introduction (Part 1)". Windows. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  20. "Windows 10 Creators Update might leave Intel's Atom 'Clover Trail' CPUs behind". Windows Central. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  21. "Microsoft may strand some Windows 10 users on unsupported Anniversary Update - MSPoweruser". MSPoweruser. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  22. "Intel Clover Trail processors are not currently supported in Windows 10 Creators Update". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  23. Bott, Ed. "Microsoft cuts off Windows 10 support early for some PCs | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  24. "It's Official: Intel Atom Clover Trail PCs Can't Upgrade to Windows 10 Creators Update". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  25. "What to do about the 'Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC' error". PCWorld. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  26. Bott, Ed. "Microsoft agrees to extend support deadline for Clover Trail PCs | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  27. US, Dell. "Windows 10 Kaby Lake Imaging | Dell Canada". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  28. Hay, Richard (20 February 2015). "Microsoft updates Windows Insider App on Windows Phone to stop unauthorized installs of technical preview". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  29. Rivera, Jaime (10 February 2015). "Yes, Windows 10 Preview will include a phone recovery tool". PocketNow.
  30. Russell, Jon (March 17, 2015). "Microsoft Is Developing Software That Converts Android Phones To Windows 10". TechCrunch. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  31. Bright, Peter (March 18, 2015). "Xiaomi and Microsoft to offer Windows 10 conversion for Android phones". Ars Technica. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  32. Hassan, Mehedi (February 19, 2016). "PSA: Windows 10 Mobile Build 14267 is only available to Lumia 950 XL, 950, 650, 550 and Xiaomi Mi4". MSPoweruser. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  33. Popa, Bogdan (March 24, 2016). "Windows 10 Mobile Redstone Build 14291 Released to Older Windows Phones". Softpedia. SoftNews NET SRL. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  34. Paul, Ian (June 30, 2016). "Windows 10's big Anniversary Update will hit phones the same time as PCs". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  35. Sarkar, Dona (April 14, 2017). "Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16176 for PC + Build 15204 for Mobile". Windows Experience Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  36. Aul, Gabe. "Announcing the first build of Windows 10 Technical Preview for Phones". Windows Blog. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  37. Aul, Gabe (27 March 2015). "A quick update on Windows 10 builds for phones for Windows Insiders". Windows Blogs.
  38. Martin, Julia (28 March 2015). "Microsoft touts Windows 10 Technical Preview coming to more Lumia devices". Inferse.
  39. "New Windows 10 Mobile preview build likely coming later today". 14 May 2015.
  40. "Microsoft to roll out Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build 10136; build 10145 in testing". 15 June 2015.
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